TARA DEFRANCISCO is a headlining performer at iO Chicago (on the Deltones, Chaos Theory, Armando, defrancisCo), ComedySportz (Mainstage), and a three year vet of the Second City Touring Company. She’s taught for those theatres and independently, both at home and internationally. Media-wise, you might see her in a Las Vegas commercial campaign, on Delusions of Grandeur (ABC Family/Blip TV), soon in the new feature film The Life & Death of an Unhappily Married Man (2015), or in several projects filmed for the satirical newspaper, The Onion.
She is also the founder and president of The Improv Retreat (http://theimprovretreat.com), the acclaimed and beloved summer camp for adult improvisers in the midwest. In March of 2015, weekly residency of Here (a two person longform improvised musical, performed with Rance Rizzutto) is scheduled for Thursdays at iO around their worldwide tour dates. Tara has won numerous awards, including Top Performer in Chicago from New City, Funniest Person in Chicago by the Free Press, Top 25 Of Comedy in the US by Curve Magazine, as well as Chicago Tribune Show of the Season for the long running renegade feat, defrancisCo.
Hi, I’m Rance Rizzutto. I started doing improv with ComedySportz in Portland as well as joining Portland’s longest running sketch comedy troupe, The Third Floor. I performed with both until making the decision to head to Chicago!
Since moving to Chicago in 2003 I have performed with ComedySportz, Chicago, DSI (The Beatbox), Silent Treatment (award winning two-person silent improv), seven8nine, and various other improv teams and venues. iO Chicago was my last Chicago home…performing with Chaos Theory and The Deltones. Tara and I still make it out there to teach in their Summer Intensive and perform.
Second City also hired me to perform improv and sketch with their theatrical division aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). I’ve performed sketch and improv all over the seas. Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean, and in late 2009, the Pacific Ocean…Hawaii. All in all, I’ve spent 17 months traveling and performing aboard cruise ships. That’s a LOT of buffet food.
Traveling with Second City also made possible one of my favorite improv opportunities: sitting in with the Istanbul, Turkey improv group Istanbulimpro and singing about swearing with cultural awareness (SFW).
After years of performing, I started teaching as well. I currently teach for iO, and have taught for ComedySportz and Second City in the past. People come from all over the world to study improvisation in Chicago, and I’ve been thrilled to help people grow.
Best yet, in 2014 iO sent Tara and I to Europe to teach their 3-day intensives. In that time we also got to perform Here in Estonia, Germany, Copenhagen, and Latvia.
Since then, Tara and I have upped our touring tally to 51 cities in 18 countries as of (May 2017) with more on the horizon.